“All In Together” campaign champions female empowerment

Maddie Liotta, Staff Writer

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Are women not nearly as involved in the political sector as they should be? This was the question Courtney Emerson posed when leading a discussion about women empowerment in the context of both political and societal realms on March 31.

Emerson is the co-founder and chief operating officer of the “All In Together” campaign, which attempts to rectify the problems established by the lack of female voters in the country. As a non-partisan organization, its intent is to amplify women’s voices in politics.

Emerson opened the discussion by providing a few statistics: women are earning undergraduate degrees at higher rates than men in all fields, including in STEM areas of study. The percent of female breadwinners has been steadily increasing, and women participate more in elections than men do. In the last election, for example, 10 million more females than males voted, according to Emerson. Yet, the United States is ranked 54th in the world for female empowerment, a statistic some may find startling when considering the ideals of equality and fairness that serve as the foundation of the country.

While transitioning the discussion into an open dialogue, Emerson asked students to share their opinions on how to bring about societal change and why women might not be as involved with politics as they should be. She also gave more statistics about women’s involvement in certain sectors: 40 percent of women work for charities, where they comprise the majority. In politics, 28 percent of men are likely to run for office, compared to just 15 percent of women.

Emerson also said that 51 percent of women believe they will never be qualified to run for office in the future, though they are more likely to receive an undergraduate degree than men are.

“Society trains women from a young age to believe that they are better suited for other professions, and to leave politics to the men,” Emerson said.

Additionally, Emerson outlined several methods for women to get in touch with their members of Congress: write to them, vote, donate, volunteer for a campaign, or join an activist group, among other activities.

“Women are likely to attend town hall meetings, but are less likely to speak up in said meetings,” Emerson said.

Public officials receive approximately two million more letters and phone calls from men than from women each year. Additionally, male writers constitute about 90 percent of op-ed submissions, while women are dwarfed at 10 percent.

Emerson also said that the reason most women between the ages of 18-25 choose not to vote is that they either feel uninformed or don’t have time to vote; their male counterparts do not share the same concerns.

“We need to put ourselves out there. We need to ensure that our perceived lack of information doesn’t influence decisions. Politicians need to know what matters to us so that they can make good decisions,” Emerson said.

In closing the talk, Emerson asserted that political conversations are necessary and that we should not shy away from them. She encouraged those in attendance to talk to individuals who actively disagree with our opinions, because that informs both individuals better about the opposing party’s beliefs. It also teaches people, while debating, not to use logical fallacies to further their talking points.

“People need to learn how to respectfully disagree with one another,” Emerson said.

Emerson was brought to campus through the combined efforts of Meghan Byrd ’16, Amanda Battle ’18, and Caitlin Maloney ’16 of Bucknell ATHENA, a club that promotes and advocates women empowerment and equality.

“I’d love to have a day where we focus on female empowerment in all sectors of leadership–government, business, all leadership positions. In society, women don’t feel like they deserve to be heard. I want Bucknell graduates to be empowered and to feel as if they deserve to be heard in society. Starting on campus with events like this and spreading awareness is going to bring a bigger presence to campus,” Battle said.

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